Humbled in Hungary

Milan traveled to Hungary on Saturday to face Zalaegerszegi Te FC (ZTE), the team that finished eighth in the Hungarian league, also known as Nemzeti Baznokság I. In the intense summer heat, the Italian Champions lost 3-2 to the Hungarian side, having gone down 3-0 in the first 27 minutes. It was Milan's first preseason loss since Giampaolo was on the bench in 2019, Pioli's first preseason loss at Milan at all. Was it the weight of the history of the new white Champions League kits, with their seven stripes representing our seven trophies? Or was it luck on the Hungarian team's part? Or was it just dumb errors? Or a combination of all of these? Whatever the case, Milan were humbled in Hungary.

When Krunić is the only one scoring from the run of play, you might have problems

Obviously, this was just a friendly, and just like our match last week in Köln, this match was never going to be any indication of how the team will play this season. I think fans were more concerned that Pioli played only one Primavera player in this match, however, and a lot more starters, and the performance was much more lacking against a side most would consider to be a "lesser" team than Köln.

Brescianini was worse than his hair

Pioli made only two changes from his original lineup from the week before: he started Tonali and Brescianini in midfield instead of Bakayoko and Pobega. That should tell you how poor Brescianini was, his errors were beyond costly, and no amount of Tonali could cover for them. The complete starting lineup was:

Tatarusanu; Florenzi, Kalulu, Gabbia, Ballo-Touré; Tonali, Brescianini; Messias, Diaz, Rebić; Giroud.

It only took about 80 seconds I think for ZTE to score, Meshack Ubochioma scored from a corner. 1-0 ZTE. Tatarusanu had a double save in the 8th minute, but his confidence was shaken and his overall performance was more Tatarusanu, less Derby Tatarusanu. 

When you've made one great save in your career

Milan had a couple of chances, but in the 22nd, Brescianini failed to clear a ball and Mocsi headed it past the already deflated Tatarusanu, 2-0 ZTE. Brescianini lost his man just five minutes later, leading to yet another goal, this time by Tajti, 3-0 ZTE. 

A few minutes later, Ballo-Touré won a penalty in the box and Giroud stepped up making no mistake, at least with the ball (the same cannot be said for his new hair color.) 3-1 ZTE. He also earned a yellow card in the 38th, and had a great shot that was saved by Demjén right at the 45th minute.

Great penalty, not so sure about the hair color

I am not exactly sure why Pioli made no subs at the half. If he was waiting for this eleven to redeem themselves, that never happened. In the 60th, Rebić had a great play but then his shot was blocked by Demjén, with Florenzi's rebound also blocked (possibly a handball, but his hand was at his side, and seriously, it was just a friendly.) Then Pioli subbed off everyone but Gabbia, bringing on:

Maignan; Calabria, Tomori, Theo Hernández; Krunić, Bennacer; Saelemaekers, Adli, Leão; and Daniel Maldini. 

Maignan came on and almost didn't make a save. Meanwhile, his counterpart, Demjén, was saving everything his defense didn't at the other end. At 3-1, they only needed to park the bus and defend to claim what was probably an amazing victory for them. Theo Hernández had a great shot saved in the 76th, then Leão's curling shot went just wide. Maignan made a big save, then Theo Hernández had another shot saved.

Still not even sure how he did not score

Finally, in the 86th, Adli sent the ball to Krunić, who slotted it home to save a little face, 3-2 ZTE. Calabria had a rocket of a shot that went just wide in the 89th, but it was too little too late, even with all of those starters on the pitch.

Lazetić and Mirante, as well as Primavera players Gala and Coubis were the only players left on the bench that did not see any playing time. Those not called up for this match were Bakayoko, Pobega, Kjaer, and Origi. 

Encouraging performances so far

Again, nothing to really worry about, it was a friendly. But a positive note is that once again, Adli was connecting very well with his new teammates. Despite not yet being fluent in Italian, he definitely seems to be developing an understanding with his teammates very quickly. He is aware of their movements and playing style, and his assist was evidence of that in this match. Not that two friendlies make a player, but it is a positive sign that he is slotting in so well in the preseason.

If you were worried about Milan losing this match, let me give you something to actually be worried about. While Elliott insisted that the sale to RedBird Capital would be a smooth transition, they are being sued by minority shareholders Blue Skye, and a U.S. Court granted the minority shareholders access this week to information regarding the sale pursuant to their case, which basically means the judge thinks they may have a case.

If he's such a Milan fan, why is he coming back to damage the club... again?

Yonghong Li is also suing Elliott for his €364 million that he originally invested in the club. That seems less likely to go through, but both lawsuits will undoubtedly delay the official sale of the club to Jerry Cardinale, who has not been seen nor heard from in a few weeks. Maybe that is because he is reportedly only allowing the club to spend about €50 million during the transfer window (which is probably about how much we will get for qualifying for Champions League, by the way.) 

So if you are worried about this loss, I'm sorry, but there are much bigger things to worry about, beginning with whether or not we will even be able to retain the players we have, given this ridiculous mess at the club right now. Speaking of transfer markets, Milan have been clearing a lot of players off the books that we forgot existed, but Origi is really the only new signing so far.  (I will let you do with that whatever you will.) I would much rather only think about being a simple loss of a friendly, being humbled in Hungary.


This post inspired by the music of The Primitive's "Crash"


Our next match is 
a preseason friendly
Wolfsberger vs. AC Milan
Wednesday, July 27 • 17:00 CEST (1pm EDT)
Wörthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt am Wörthersee


Humbled in Hungary Humbled in Hungary Reviewed by Elaine on 12:28 AM Rating: 5
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